South African police yesterday opened fire on a group of MDC-T supporters who attempted to break into Union Buildings, venue of the Sadc Extraordinary Summit.
The group wanted to confront Robert Mugabe, accusing him of running down Zimbabwe and stalling the process towards the envisaged inclusive Government.
Reports today say the police had to open fire with rubber bullets on about 1 000 MDC-T supporters, who comprised South African-based activists and their counterparts bussed from Zimbabwe, who claimed they wanted to confront Mugabe.
Dozens were wounded and 30 others were arrested.
Those wounded were hospitalised at Tshwane District Hospital in Pretoria while those arrested were later discharged after questioning, reports say.
Reverend Mufaro Hove, a Patron of the Youth Movement of Zimbabwe, is quoted as saying the group wanted to break into the summit venue.
“We wanted to break into the Union Buildings to confront President Mugabe. The police reacted swiftly and started firing rubber bullets at us. Women and children were injured,”
Among those arrested were 12 MDC-T regional and national leaders including deputy national spokesperson Thabitha Khumalo, MDC-T spokesperson for South Africa Sibanengi Dube, organising secretary Philemon Moyo and his deputy Rodgers Mudarikwa.
Meanwhile, the MDC this morning blasted as “malicious” assurances given by Southern African leaders at the end of a 12-hour summit that the party had agreed to join Mugabe in a power-sharing government.
“It’s completely malicious. There was no agreement. We will only form a government subject to the resolution of all of our demands,” Joseph Mungwari said.
After 12 hours of talks between nine heads of state and government from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community, SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao, reading from a communiqué, said: “The prime minister (Tsvangirai) and the deputy prime ministers shall be sworn in by 11 February 2009.”
The swearing in of ministers from Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and two factions of the MDC would take place two days later, ending the process of the formation of the inclusive government, according to SADC.
Ahead of Monday’s talks, a Zimbabwe government spokesperson reiterated Mugabe’s threat to form a government without the MDC if it did not play ball.